Another one I’d never seen before, Brokeback Mountain has a reputation to live up to, but of what I didn’t really know. Yes, I was aware it was about two cowboys, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall, and that between these two, something happened in a tent, involving at least one of their man-parts and the other’s posterior, but as to how this would support a feature length picture I did not know. Wisely, director Ang Lee gets past the, ahem, climax early on, spending a greater deal of time depicting the aftermath of the relationship Ledger’s ranch hand Ennis Del Mar and Gyllenhall’s rodeo cowboy Jack Twist form on the time they spend herding goats together. Ledger easily surpasses Gyllenhall on the acting front, mumbling his way through the difficulties that come with having an affair, and Michelle Williams also impresses as his put-upon spouse, realising the truth about her husband yet living in acceptance and despair. The slow pace of the film allowed for some great character interactions too, and I approved of the film only featuring important sections from the central relationship and nothing else, with what some would describe as pivotal events – Twist’s marriage to rodeo girl Anne Hathaway or the birth of Del Mar’s two children – being skipped entirely, as to the main couple these were of secondary importance to the connection the two had with each other.
Choose film 7/10
A fairly standard prophetic drama is elevated above an otherwise also-ran status by an interesting concept (no-one has given birth in 18 years) and an outstanding cast (Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Eijofor, Pam Ferris, Danny Huston), as well as Oscar nominated cinematography, an award criminally awarded to Pan’s Labyrinth instead. It is this camerawork, most noticeable in several uncut extended tracking shots involving moving vehicles, gun shots and wounds, crashes, crowd scenes and explosions, that justify its inclusion upon this list, and makes Children of Men a must see, if just for the sheer level of technical accomplishment on display.